Why is Sweden So Creative?
Why is Sweden So Creative?

IAPI were delighted to host Åkestam Holst in Dublin on 14 September to help us to try and answer the above question. Magnus Jakobsson, one of Sweden’s most awarded Creative Directors and Karl Wikstrom, Senior Strategy Director, joined us to shine a light on their agencies working methods and spotlight some of their most innovative campaigns.

They spoke openly about their agency's working model and how they believe they create such great work by investing in great people. Three key rules for Åkestam Holst:

  • Have no hierarchies
  • Invite every creative to every brief
  • Apply next level niceness

These three beliefs lead to a workplace where everybody has an opportunity to contribute, a great idea can develop from anywhere and people have the freedom to fail. With equality, humility and hard work - anything is possible.

10 Principles to Apply
10 Principles to Apply

1. It's a cliche but be brave.

2. Tell the stories no-one else is telling.

3. Attempt the unattempted - just because.

4. Don't think campaigns. Think creative eco-systems.

5. Let people be themselves.

6. Listen to science but don't let science run the show.

7. Smash taboos.

8. Create the safety to be brave.

9. Think of technology as a medium.

10. Create long ideas for a global audience.


While talking about these principles, Magnus and Karl highlighted campaigns to showcase how they applied these principles in practice to their work. Some of the wonderful work showcased included Billboards Beyond Borders putting freedom of information on the map, IKEA - Where Life Happens bringing the ordinary everyday to light, Norrlands Guld Worldcup Campaign printing tweets on beer foam in real time, Humanium Metal a project distributing metal from destructed firearms, EuroPride 2018's The Voice of Change campaign, SAS True Travellers campaign, Audi's Safety Code initiative and Apoteket Hjärtat Coughing Billboard to highlight the dangers of smoking.

You can view some of these campaigns below or click on the links above to learn more.

In conclusion...
In conclusion...

It's Not just "big" ideas, but a point-of-view that lasts.

It's Not just for existing users, but a bigger audience.

It's Not just about the brand, but the context, culture and society it operates in.

Åkestam Holst create genuinely exciting ideas, well executed and cleverly distributed, that tell a bigger story, and leaves the world a bit better off. To them, that's creating good.

AND if you take a chance on brave and bold ideas some of them will fail but we just won't talk about those ones afterwards and that's where the caveat comes in - Sweden is Where Great Happens (Sometimes...)

We hope this event was inspiring to all our member agencies and clients that attended and that you're all going to take up Magnus and Karl's challenge to go out there and beat Sweden at Cannes next year because it is achievable if we all have a little belief in our biggest and best ideas.